A low and slow blanch-and-shock method of cooking the octopus before grilling helps to enhance its color, texture, and flavor. It’s an Italian tradition to throw a wine cork into the boiling water while the octopus cooks; it’s believed to help tenderize the octopus.
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon fresh fennel fronds
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 octopus (approximately 5 pounds)
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for octopus and stir to combine. Add octopus, cover with plastic wrap and marinate in refrigerator overnight (12 hours).
- To cook: Remove octopus from marinade (discard marinade). Place octopus in a large pot of cold water along with one cork from a bottle of wine. Place a large mixing bowl half full of water inside of pot to keep octopus submerged. Bring to a simmer. Cook until you can grab head with tongs and there is just enough give to remove it, about 2 1/2-3 hours. Place octopus and head in an ice bath. Remove beak and pat dry octopus.
- Preheat grill to high. Add octopus and grill for 2-4 minutes, until lightly charred. Remove and serve warm.